It was time for a change in Barcelona. Ronald Koeman took charge of the team and wasted no time in making some controversial decisions. And now that Lionel Messi has decided to stay at the club, the manager will have to decide how the Argentine will fit into his plans.
Koeman was hired almost two weeks ago, after Quique Setién's departure due to Barcelona's catastrophic 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League. The Dutch coach, a Barcelona icon, came to the Catalan club to rebuild the squad and take the team back to its glory days.
However, his stint started with some controversial decisions. Koeman told Luis Suárez, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti that they should find a new club as they won't be needed for next season.
Also, Koeman and Messi have already met to discuss the team's future. It was before the six-time Ballon d'Or winner told the club he intended to leave. "The privileges on the squad are over, we have to do everything for the team. I'm going to be inflexible, you have to think about the team," would have said Koeman to Messi, according to Deportes Cuatro.
Messi into Koeman's plans
The Dutch coach wants Messi to be the leader of the team. He wants to build it around him, and give him freedom on the field. Koeman plans to surround Messi with fast players who can put pressure on his opponents to give the Argentinean superstar more space.
Without Luis Suárez and Jordi Alba, two of Messi's main partners on the field, Koeman will need to find world-class replacements. And, apparently, he already has a forward in mind: Memphis Depay.
Depay has already been under the orders of Koeman in the Dutch national team. The Lyon forward had a fantastic 2019-20 season and helped his team reach the UEFA Champions League semifinal. It seems that the new Barcelona trio in attack could be Antoine Griezmann, Depay and Messi.